Is Toilet Water Clean? 2023 Tips From The Plumbing Experts

is toilet water clean

Is Toilet Water Clean?

Let’s get straight to the point – the water that goes into your toilet is the same water that feeds your home. However once that water feeds into the toilet top tank and then into the bowl, that is where it becomes highly undrinkable due to contact with unclean surfaces.

So if you drink water straight from a tap anywhere in your home, it’s the same household water.

But life isn’t that simple. Many factors must be considered when considering how clean toilet water is.

The key factors that dictate the cleanliness of your toilet water are:

  • Where the water comes from
  • The condition of the toilet tank
  • The cleanliness of the toilet bowl itself.

🚽 Where the Water Comes From

Is Toilet Water Clean?

The cleanliness of the water itself depends on where it comes from.

Depending on where you live, how old your house is, and how your home is plumbed dictates how clean the water is that feeds your toilet.

For most homes, the water supply running into your home is the same supply that feeds your toilet.

But before you grab yourself a glass and scoop out a cup to drink, you may want to consider the next few factors…

🚱 A Note On Grey Water

Many newer homes in the western world use grey water to flush their toilets as a water-saving strategy.

Grey water is water that’s created from other activities, such as bathing, showering, or simply doing laundry, and then stored for future use.

Grey water is mostly used for irrigation purposes but can also be used for flushing toilets.

🛑 NOTE: You cannot drink this dirty water!

🚽 The Condition of the Toilet Tank

cleaning the toilet top tank
CC Image by Marco Verch via Flickr.

The toilet tank (sometimes called a toilet cistern) sits above the toilet bowl and is what holds the water ready for you to flush.

The water, as we stated above, is normal residential fresh water, so technically speaking, it’s clean.

The problem is when the water gets into the top tank. The toilet tank is an often overlooked part when people clean their bathrooms.

If the toilet gets used a lot, the water in the tank is cycled on a regular basis, so it’s technically clean as it doesn’t hang around long enough to pick other nasties floating around.

The issue is that the top tank doesn’t ever get cleaned.

When you remove the lid, you will most probably find dust and sediment in the tank, along with rust and corrosion.

Since this doesn’t get cleaned very often if at all, it’s easy for mold and bacteria to find their way into the toilet tank water.

You probably have used toilet cubes or other internal cleaning products at some point, so this likely has left some residue at the bottom of the toilet tank as well.

When you flush the toilet with the lid open, small amounts of contaminated water spray into the air.

This is sometimes called a toilet sneeze. Sounds disgusting, I know…

This water contains harmful bacteria and other pollutants that can find their way into the top tank if it is not sealed correctly.

This also lands on the rim of the bowl, on the floor, and if you are standing close enough.

PRO TIP: Only flush your toilet when the toilet lid is shut.

So our answer on whether you can drink toilet water is still no at this point!

🚽 The Cleanliness of the Toilet Bowl

dirty old bathroom

So now you know that the water leaving the top tank is less than ideal, but it’s still cleaner than where it’s about to go.

Your toilet bowl water contains a wide range of unhealthy germs and organisms regardless of how clean you try to keep it.

Just the cleaning products used to clean toilets alone leave an unhealthy residue for humans and pets.

A study from the Hygiene Council as noted by WebMD, states that a toilet bowl contains no else than 3.2 million bacteria per square inch.

To put that into perspective, here is the bacteria count for other common areas in your home:

  • Kitchen sink, near drain: 17,964 bacteria/square inch
  • Bathroom faucet handle: 6,267 bacteria/square inch
  • Bathroom sink, near drain: 2,733 bacteria/square inch
  • Toilet floor, in front of toilet: 764 bacteria/square inch
  • Garbage bin: 411 bacteria/square inch
  • Toilet seat: 295 bacteria/square inch
  • Bathroom light switch: 217 bacteria/square inch
  • Bathroom door inside handle: 121 bacteria/square inch
  • Toilet’s flush handle: 83 bacteria/square inch
  • TV remote control: 70 bacteria/square inch

Your TV remote has a bacteria count similar to the average toilet flush handle! I bet many of you are now heading to wipe down your TV remote…

Even if something looks clean, it probably isn’t unless you clean it properly and regularly.

Many contaminants are microscopic and can not be seen by the naked eye.

So that clean water we started with has now made its way into a toilet tank that’s not very clean and then made its way into a toilet bowl.

It’s obviously not clean at this point.

Our answer to whether drinking toilet water is a good idea is definitely a no at this point.

🚽 Is Toilet Water Safe For Pets?

dog drinking water

For all the same reasons, it’s unhealthy for humans, it’s equally unhealthy for dogs, cats, and other animals you might be harboring in your home.

Since you might flush your toilet regularly, the water in the bowl may appear fresher and colder than the average bowl of water you left for your furry family member.

Plus, your animal’s water bowl may not be the cleanest, so that might tell you something.

✅ PRO TIP: Keep your pet’s water bowls clean. If you don’t want to drink out of it, they probably don’t want to either.

🚽 Keeping Your Toilet and Bathroom Clean

luxury bathroom

To reiterate, the question is toilet water clean? The answer is still NO!

The water in your toilet is not drinkable.

The toilet in your home is one of the most used fixtures, so it’s important to keep it clean.

This reduces the chances of you getting ill from bugs and spreading them to the rest of your family.

Toilets, especially the toilet bowl, should be cleaned daily.

Take particular note to wipe down flush handles, the base of the toilet, the lid, and, of course, the seat.

It is also important to vacuum and mop the floor around the base of your toilet.

Regarding pets, always keep the lid closed and close the door to your bathroom where possible to keep them out.

Ensure you supply your pet with fresh and cold tap water throughout the day, especially in summer, to remove the temptation to drink toilet bowl water.

🚽 Finally!

Phyxter Approved Logo on Service Truck

Keeping your toilet and bathroom clean is one of the most important tasks for maintaining a clean and healthy home.

Not only does keeping your bathroom clean look good, but you will also feel cleaner using a nice clean bathroom every day.

So keep your bathroom clean from bugs that can make you sick, and try your best to avoid drinking water out of your toilet bowl!

Want to learn more about your home’s plumbing system? Feel free to check out our other plumbing articles!

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Russell Jones

Russell, a native Australian and VP of Operations at Phyxter Home Services, is also part-owner of Vernon Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Electrical Services. When he's not busy with work projects and renovations, Russell enjoys putting his vast knowledge of home improvement to good use by sharing his tips and tricks.

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